April 1987 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 126 Rejected: 101 Approved: 25 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS APRIL 1987
The minute I tasted the Boeger Ca-bernet Sauvignon, I was struck by a style note. I thought I should show it as a selection when the opportunity presented itself. You will be surpri¬sed by the quality and the difference in style. Our last wine by them was a Zinfandel '81 in June, 1985.
The interesting thing about the white wine this month is the fact that I featured a California white wine in October 1986 by San Juan Creek Winery that had all the trappings of a Vouvray. Here is an original Vouv¬ray for you to compare. A lot of similarity... Normally there is a sig¬nificant difference between Califor¬nia Chenin Blanes and those from the Loire Valley in France.
For you computer fans, you might have noticed the typeface look of this
newsletter has changed... well, I have fallen victim to the desktop publishing revolution that the Mac¬intosh people have been expounding. So I am in the middle of learning ReadySetGo formatting and pastup software, applying it to certain pag¬es, and then when I have trouble, re¬verting back to the old CPM, Word-star, and the gluepot for pastup.
Cabernet Sauvignon,'82.Boeger pg.2
Vouvray,'85.Dom. des Girard pg.3
Member Inquiry pg.4
Tasting Notes & Cellar Notes pg.5
Adventures in Eating pg.6
Wine & Gift order forms pgs.7&8
Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for fine wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: The Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274. (213) 534-1980
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1982. El Dorado. BOEGER.
More often than not, the Italian heritage of wine making crops up here and there in the background of our winemakers. Greg Boeger is the grandson of Anton Nichelini, a Swiss-Italian who founded a winery in Napa County in 1890. This origi¬nal winery continues as a family op¬eration today.
Greg cut his teeth in agriculture. Summer jobs at relatives farms and ranches, the family operation in Napa, a UC Davis MS in agricultur¬al economics, and a two year stint as an agricultural statistician with the U.S.D.A., all contributed towards his decision to start a vineyard and winery of his own.
In 1972, Greg and Susan Boeger, in partnership with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. George Babbin, bought a 70 acre ranch which had been the site of a winery and vineyards in the late 1800's. Though El Dorado county has a rich wine history, Boeger winery was the first modern - day winery to pioneer in this Sierra foothill region. These vineyards range from the 2300 to 3000 foot el¬evation.
The modern building blends with the gold country atmosphere. Still standing and used today as their tast¬ing room is the century-old stone wine cellar. An old dam, a rock-walled creek, and giant ancient fig trees surround the picnic area ad¬joining the picturesque cellar.
Greg is winemaker, while his wife
Susan is a marketing whiz. They have two children, Justin and Alexis. It is their hope that the children will eventually become involved in the winery and continue the family tra-dition.
Cabernet Sauvignon, this tradition¬al grape of Bordeaux, France, shows a different face in Eldorado county, it seems. The cabernet wines I have had from this region seem to have a character of their own. Most of the time they are identifiable as caber¬net, but they have an aromatic lus¬ciousness to them that sometimes could be mistaken for a zinfandel. Rather interesting phenomenon. Greg's '82 cabernet is a classic ex¬ample of this; you could mistake it for a rich zin.
The wine is dark purplish red, and nearly opaque. It has a berry aroma, with overtones of some pepper, which blends with the bouquet of the wood ageing that follows. The taste duplicates the nose very well. It has a distinct berry flavor, with lots of fruit. It is very full in body, and there is a robe of softness that fol¬lows the fruitiness. The balance is perfect. An aromatic aspect exists in the taste. Serve at room temperature with roast beef, or after the meal with sharp cheddar cheese.
Cellaring Notes: Will complex for 3 to 5 years. Rather good now.
#487A Regular Price: $9.00/each
Special Member Regular Price: $8.80/each
Member Reorder Price: 22.22%
VOUVRAY, 1985. DOMAINE DES GIRARDIERES.
If you have been to the Loire valley in France, this wine should bring back some memories. The best known wine of the Loire valley is undoubtedly Vouvray. Like many French wines, it is named after the village where it is made. Vouvray is on the Loire river, just east of Tours.
The sole grape used in Vouvray wine is the Pineau Blanc de la Loire. We know it as Chenin Blanc. The vineyards around Vouvray have a deep stratum of tuff, which contains chalk, adding a unique dimension to the taste of the wine. The wine is made in several degrees of sweetness ranging from a "brut", to a "sec", to a "demi-sec", to a "moelleux", to a "liquoreux". These terms are not used on most of the labels of the wine exported to the United States. It seems, only the dry versions are ex¬ported to us, and even they, have a slight sweetness to them. On the whole, the American palate does not favor sweet wines, and the French¬man covets the sweeter versions of good Vouvray. If you like sweet wines, you should attend their cele¬bration of the harvest festival "la bernache"; at which, the fermenting wine is served with roast chestnuts. I must return for one of these events. I love roasted chestnuts!
Another face of Vouvray wine is the sparkling versions that are also produced. They are very popular in Europe. We are starting to see them
on the shelves of our wine shops. Next time you are looking for a sparkling wine, try one. They are very interesting.
Our wine is a superb example of a Vouvray on the dry side. It is made from grapes grown on an estate called "Domaine de Girardieres", vinified, and then selected for its quality by a negocient, and exported as part of his line of wines. Henri Delamotte has a good palate. I have liked many of his selections.
Typically, Vouvray does not re¬semble California Chenin Blanc be¬cause of the cask storage it under¬goes. An element of oak is intro¬duced. Usually you can identify the varietal character of the grape through the wood. Sometimes not!
Our wine is light yellow. It has a fruity aroma, with a bouquet which I like to call "barrelly". The taste is crisp with fruit acid. It is flavorful and young. The varietal character is apparent and the wood adds an inter¬esting dimension. It is light bodied. You might want to store this taste sensation in your memory bank for a typical "sec" version of a Vouvray. Serve chilled with cream cheese ca¬napes, or with turkey tetrazini.
Cellaring Notes: I like it young. The French age it up to 5 years.
#487B Regular Price: $7.75/each
Special Member Regular Price: $7.00/each
Member Reorder Price: 22.58% $6.50/each $78.00/case
"What is your opinion about these wine cabinets I see advertised. The prices they are asking makes it quite an investment.. Are there any negatives about them, and do you recommend one over another?" A.S.
"Yes... there has been a flurry of offerings in the catalogs and some advertisements in newspapers and magazines for wine cabi¬nets. The demand must be there. A sign, I hope, of the American public developing a palate for wine.
"If you are inquiring about a straight for¬ward storage unit that has special shelving for bottles, without any refrigeration, then, any suitable product you find should be just fine, as long as it fits your needs and your decor. Just be sure and situate it away from heat (like a window), and vibration (like a common wall where motors are run¬ning). Be sure that the storage racks or shelves keep the wine bottles laying down, or at an angle, such that the corks are kept in contact with the wine.
"However... I am sure you are inquiring about the refrigerated cabinets. They are supposed to duplicate cellar storage, as far as temperature is concerned. I have one concern about them. The vibration. Unless I am mistaken, all the ones I have seen and others that I have sent away for literature, have a refrigeration unit within the housing of the entire cabinet. The walls of these cabinets, I am sure, are well insulated for temperature gain or loss. Some say that the compressor motor is also insulated in some way so that when it runs, it does not con¬vey the vibration to the cabinet.
"I have difficulty with this. It would take some expensive engineering to accomplish "vibration insulation" for such a unit. I have not been satisfied with what I have been shown by the vendors.
"Why is this important? Vibration is one of the things to avoid in wine storage for opti¬mum ageing. Shaking and vibration are chemical reaction enhancers. (remember your chemistry lab. experiments). Well... this is no different, however "micro" the vibrations are. Ageing and maturation of
wine is a chemical process. It is a slow process, and should not be hurried. If you hurry it by shaking, you will not end up with your best matured wine. You will rush it and you will not get the finer refinements of motionless ageing. (Similar acceleration occurs with ageing at higher than the ideal temperature of 55 degrees F.)
"I am sure all the other elements for ideal ageing of wine are met by most of these units. Ideal temperature, no direct light, low humidity, and storage of the bottles on their side. If you can satisfy yourself that they have addressed the vibration problem adequately, then go for it.
"Now it is possible, that somebody has figured it out! If I were thinking of this kind of unit, rather than a conventional cel¬lar in a closet, or room, or true under¬ground cellar, I would separate the motor from the condenser housing, and mount it on the floor, with no attachments to the box. That way, when it goes on and off, and when it is running, it will not touch the box. (Any of you have an older refrigerator around that shakes? That is what happens to equipment as it gets old).
"In fact, whenever I consult on wine cellar construction, I insist on the refrigeration unit be detached from the walls of the room, and preferably mounted on a concrete slab outside the wall of the enclosure.
"Be sure and plan your space needs care¬fully. Time and time again, I hear people saying "I wish I had purchased a larger one!" Some of these units are very hand¬some and are like pieces of furniture, and others are just suitable for the garage. (With the latter, you can add modules!).
"P.S. to members.... if you own one of these units already, do not despair! It is not all that bad! What is happening is that the ageing of your wine is being accelerated somewhat, and maybe not optimally (possibly not discernible by most). As far as the former, we all are impatient at times anyway. As for the latter, the standard pre¬vails... no vibration!
W O M C CELLAR NOTES
A report on how previous Wine of the Month Club Selections are faring with age.
Obtained from actual tastings of wines under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer or wholesaler surveys.
Apr.1983. R. Zinfandel '80 Napa. Burgess. Nice complexity.Use
W. Muscadet '81. B&G. Somewhat dull now.Use up
Apr.1984. R. Colli del Trasimeno Rosso.1982.Lamb.Can still develop.Try it
W. Johannisberg Riesling '82.Raymond.Showing nicely.Keep or use
Apr.1985. R. Pinot Noir Nouveau, '84.Amity.Lost its freshness. Use.
W. Rully Blanc '83.Jaffelin.Just starting to complex. Keep
Apr.1986. R. Vintage Red, '83.Ch. Andrew.Chile.Nicely mellowed.Use.Can Keep
W. Chardonnay, '84.Villa Helena.Hardly changed.Can keep.
Adventures in Eating
The saga of Vikki and Bruce's wedding continues. Since they are WOMClub members, I could not resist passing on some housekeeping advice to newlyweds taken from the "Buckeye Cookery" (1898).
"There is no luck in housekeeping, how¬ever it may seem. Even by exact rule, and even with thorough knowledge, eternal vig-ilance is the price of success. There must he a place for everything and everything in its place, a time for everything and everything in its time, and "patience, patience," must be written in glowing capitals all over the walls. The reward is sure. Your husband may admire your grace and ease in society, your wit, your school-day accomplish¬ments of music and painting, but all in per¬fection will not atone for an ill-ordered kitchen, sour bread, muddy coffee, tough meats, unpalatable vegetables, indigestible pastry, and the whole train of horrors that result from bad housekeeping; on the other hand, success wins gratitude and attach¬ment in the home circle, and adds luster to the most brilliant intellectual accomplish¬ments." Wow!...
Now to the entree for her bridal luncheon continued from last month. Do not despair, as you read the description .The compo¬nents are do-aheads.
The entree is called Eggs Motul, prepared as follows: a fried corn tortilla, spread with black beans, topped with a sunnyside egg, covered with Yucatan Tomato Sauce, and then sprinkled with chopped sauteed ham and cooked peas. It is a fabulous dish. The layers of flavors surprise the taste buds. You all know how to fry a corn tortilla! So let's start with this special tomato sauce.
YUCATAN TOMATO SAUCE
4 dried Ancho or New Mexico chilies
2/3 cup boiling water
6 lge. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
4 to 6 fresh or canned hot green chili pep
pers, seeds and stems removed(start
2 medium onions, cut into quarters
1 lge. clove garlic, crushed
2 Tb. olive or vegetable oil
2 Tb. orange juice
1 Tb. cider vinegar
1 Tb. lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1) Remove stems, seeds and veins of chilies while rinsing under cold water. Cut chilies into 1-inch pieces; place in 2/3 cup boiling water. Let stand 45 minutes. (Do not touch eyes while working with chilies; wash hands immediately after preparing them.)
2) Place chilies and water in blender con¬tainer with tomatoes, green chili peppers, onions and garlic; cover. Puree until smooth. Heat oil in 10 inch skillet over me¬dium heat; add tomato mixture. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in re¬maining ingredients. Simmer until raw taste disappears, about 30 minutes. Add water if sauce becomes too thick.
Tips: for best flavor prepare and refrigerate 2-3 weeks ahead. Sauce should be the con¬sistency of a salsa. I added a 1/2 cup of to¬mato sauce while it simmered, and a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed oregano.
In the following issues I will give you the black bean recipe and easy way to handle the other ingredients that we used.
More next month, compadres.
For free membership information write or call
Wine of the Month Club®
Adventures in Wine Since 1972 by The Cellarmaster
P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 534-1980
487A Cabernet Sauvignon,1982.Boeger
Reg. Price $9.00 22.22%disc. $84.00/case
487B Vouvray, 1985. Dom. des Girard.
Reg. Price $7.75 22.58%disc. $78.00/case
387A Sauvignon Blanc,1985. Sam J.Sebst.
Reg. Price $10.50 21.43%disc. $99.00/case
387B Cabernet Sauvignon,Lontue,'83.
Reg. Price $4.35 25.3% disc. $39.00/case
Reg. Price $10.25 22% disc. $96.00/case
287B White Merlot, '85. Zonin
Reg. Price $4.60 24.5 disc. $42.60/case
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